After Friday, I didn’t feel like my students had a firm grasp on the definition of extrapolation and its (possible) consequences. In case you forgot:
So, I was messing around on google, looking for some good examples of extrapolation, and I found this perplexing graph:
We started with an explanation of the stock market, the NASDAQ, and the possible implications of each of them. We also discussed what could happen with inaccurate predictions in this context.
So, I decided to cut the graph back to the original data, and have my students extrapolate and predict the NASDAQ at the end of 2003.
My biggest mistake was giving them the data with the graph. Most of my students wanted to use their calculator and come up with the best prediction model using logarithms. I’m not upset that they decided to go there…I just wanted them to give a quick prediction based off of the trend they could see. Eventually, they got here:
…and we looked at the predictions of the entire class (in which all of them followed the same basic trends):
Finally, we looked at the actual value:
In this case, they were wrong. By a lot. And we discussed why. I’m must hoping that this helps emphasize what extrapolation is and its implications…